7:30 PM ET, December 18, 2013
TD Garden, Boston, MA
Brandon Jennings' 28 points, 14 assists fuel squeaker over Celtics
BOSTON -- The Detroit Pistons have been known for their inside scoring this season.
Brandon Jennings made sure teams realize they're dangerous from the outside, too.
Jennings scored 28 points, making a key 3-pointer with 46.7 seconds left, and matched his season high with 14 assists Wednesday night as the Pistons held on for a 107-106 win over the Boston Celtics.
It was one of Jennings' five 3-pointers in the game. The Pistons, who entered the game leading the NBA in points in the paint per game with 51.6, went 10-for-27 from beyond the arc.
It started with Jennings, who went 9-of-21 from the floor.
"He made plays," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. "If it wasn't for him, he made it for other players like (Greg) Monroe and had plays down low."
Jennings said the confidence his coach has in him made a big difference when he was taking key shots.
"He tells me to go be great with five minutes to go in the game, so that's what I'm trying to do," he said.
Detroit trailed by 21 points in the first half after giving up 42 points in the opening quarter. It was the most given up in a quarter by the Pistons and Boston's season high.
"I thought our second half was obviously better than our first half," Cheeks said. "The first quarter, number one, our energy level was low. We picked our energy up and got back in the game."
"It's easy for all of us, myself included, to be really focused on 'we had a 19-point lead and didn't win the game,' but we got outplayed for 36 minutes," Boston coach Brad Stevens said.
Green missed a driving one-hander wildly just before the horn sounded. He said it was the play that Stevens drew up.
"Yeah, but not every shot falls," he said. "Josh made a good attempt, trying to block it. I redirected my shot and kind of missed it."
The Pistons held a seven-point lead after Smith's basket with 2:56 to play before Boston scored the next eight points, with Sullinger's 3-pointer from the top capping the spree with 61 seconds left.
Jennings then made a 3-pointer over Bradley 14 seconds later. On Boston's next possession, Sullinger was fouled and hit the first free throw but missed the second, and Boston trailed 107-106 with 41.5 seconds left.
Jennings missed a long jumper and Drummond failed to convert the putback attempt, and Sullinger grabbed the rebound, setting up Boston's final shot.
Neither team held more than a one-possession lead in the opening six minutes of the fourth quarter until Drummond's hook in the lane gave the Pistons a 96-91 lead with 5:46 to play.
Smith then had the next three Pistons baskets, trading scores with Boston as the Pistons maintained between a four- and seven-point edge.
Detroit had taken the lead 92-89 on Jennings' shot-clock-beating 3 from the right wing with 6:49 left.
The Pistons used an 11-0 run early in the second half, slicing an 11-point halftime deficit to one before Jennings made a 3-pointer and was fouled on the shot by Bradley. He hit the free throw, giving them their first lead of the game 74-73 with 5:01 left in the third.
After shooting 61.5 percent (24-of-39) in the first half, Boston hit just seven of 24 attempts (29.2 percent) in the third as the Pistons closed it to 81-80 after three.
The Celtics held a 63-52 halftime edge.
Boston, which led by 19 after one quarter, pushed it to 52-32 on Kelly Olynyk's layup before the Pistons scored 14 of the next 18 points to slice it to 56-46. Greg Monroe scored three straight baskets during the run.
The Celtics shot 69.6 percent (16 of 23) and led 42-23 after one quarter, ending the quarter on Gerald Wallace's well-placed alley-oop feed to Sullinger at the buzzer. With 0.2 seconds left in the quarter, Detroit's Kyle Singler was called for traveling in front of Boston's bench. Wallace inbounded the ball just past the rim to Sullinger, who tipped it in as the horn sounded.
Boston led 26-20 before closing the quarter by scoring 16 of the final 19 points. Bradley had a pair of 3s and scored eight in the spree. Detroit, which entered the game leading the league in points in the paint, was outscored 18-8 in the lane during the opening quarter.
Trade rumors were circling around the Celtics the past two days with forward Brandon Bass, guard Courtney Lee and injured guard Rajon Rondo being mentioned. ... Boston F Wallace arrived in the locker room about 90 minutes before tipoff and talked about how his approximately 10-mile commute took an hour and a half. ... The Pistons beat Eastern Conference-leading Indiana on the road in their previous game Tuesday. ... The Pistons beat Boston 87-77 at home on Nov. 3.
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 18: Jeff Green #8 of the Boston Celtics dunks against the Detroit Pistons on December 18,...(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: After Jared Sullinger drained a 3-pointer to put Boston up by one, Brandon Jennings hit one of his five treys with 21 seconds left, which proved to be the difference. Jennings had 28 points and 14 assists.
X factor: After the Celtics scored a blistering 42 points in the first quarter, Detroit's stalwart interior defense helped cool Boston as the outside shooting fell off. The Celts scored just 18 in the third quarter and 43 in the second half.
That was ... not quite clutch: Boston had two chances to reclaim the lead with 13 seconds left. First, Brandon Bass dribbled away eight seconds before Brad Stevens called a timeout. Then Jeff Green drove at Detroit's best individual defender -- Josh Smith -- and threw up a wild layup. Neither play was likely Stevens' intention.
Next 5 Games
Brandon Jennings (DET): 20 Pts, 10 Ast (game in progress in 3rd quarter) Jennings already has 4 20-point, 10-assist games this season. That matches his career-high set last season.
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